Thursday, February 28, 2019

A ketamine inspired nasal spray for depression.

I pass on this New Atlas article link on a nasal spray based on ketamine (the party drug PCP or 'angel dust') that is likely to receive FDA approval soon. From the article (which has a link to a series on that site called Psychedelic medicine 101, describing formerly taboo substances now being found useful, cf. Michael Pollan's recent book "Changing your Mind"):
Originally developed decades ago as a novel anesthetic, ketamine has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years... Of course in the world of Big Pharma there is no money to be made investing in clinical trials for a decades-old drug past its patent. So in comes esketamine, a chemical cousin of ketamine with many similar pharmacological actions. Esketamine is roughly twice as strong as ketamine, eliminated by the body faster, and allegedly presents less negative dissociative symptoms when compared to its relative. For the most part, esketamine acts on the brain in similar ways to ketamine, except it doesn't influence a few key neurological receptors.
Johnson & Johnson has been developing an esketamine-based nasal spray to treat depression for several years. The treatment's development process has been undeniably rocky with two major clinical trials failing to prove the drug is more effective than placebo and some experts questioning its ultimate efficacy.
Ahead of a final FDA decision, expected by early March, an independent advisory committee was recently established to offer a recommendation on the treatment's efficacy. After evaluating a multitude of research submitted by the pharmaceutical company, the committee overwhelmingly voted 14-to-2 in favor of recommending the treatment.

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